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ISI Chief Tells Musharraf To Stay Out

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Islamabad: Pakistan’s ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha held a secret meeting with former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in Dubai and advised him not to return to the country, according to a media report earlier in the week.

“Gen Pasha, who has remained very close to the former President, held a meeting with (Musharraf) in Dubai and advised him not to return to the country as the situation is not conducive for his return,” a source was quoted as saying by Dawn News channel.

 

The channel quoted its sources as saying that Pasha “strictly advised” Musharraf not to return to Pakistan from self-exile.

 

The report said it was not clear whether the meeting was held on the directions of the Pakistan People’s Party-led government or if it was a private meeting.

 

The report said Musharraf, after meeting Pasha, convened a meeting of his All Pakistan Muslim League party on January 25 for reviewing his decision to return to Pakistan.

 

The media report coincided with a resolution passed by the Senate or upper house of Parliament that demanded the arrest of Musharraf on his return to Pakistan and the registration of a case of high treason against him for abrogating the Constitution.

 

Several Pakistani leaders, including interior minister Rehman Malik, have said Musharraf would be arrested on his return to Pakistan.

 

Musharraf recently postponed his plans to return to Karachi during January 27-30.

 

Last week, Musharraf  received support from his former military colleagues.

The Pakistan First Group (PFG), an outfit formed by former military bigwigs, have enthusiastically welcomed his decision to move back, and have asked authorities to provide him with the necessary security. Maj. Gen. (retd) Rashid Qureshi, former director-general of ISPR, the military’s media wing, said PFG is a non-political entity. He did not rule out a political role for the group. 

The PFG has been created as an apolitical pressure group to counter the propaganda campaign currently being run against the army and the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence).

”However, we are witnessing clear undertones and the group may join politics in the coming weeks and months,” the daily Dawn Monday quoted Qureshi as saying.

He said: “The other day I talked to the former president (Musharraf). We will meet in Dubai Jan 25 to take a final decision in this regard. The PFG unanimously supports the former president’s plans to return to the country and take part in elections.” 

Some 150 retired officers of the three services announced the creation of the PFG at a hotel last Saturday and unanimously called for safe return of Musharraf.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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